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Schwinn Airdyne Pro Review: Best Air Bike Yet?

Purchase from Rogue Fitness: Schwinn AD Pro

Ahh, the good ol' Schwinn Airdyne.

You know, I've had a lot of beef with Airdyne's in the past.

  • The chains always came loose.
  • The pedals broke.
  • The monitors sucked

For the most part, they were pretty awful machines that didn't last, BUT you had to use them. There were no other options; a necessary evil if there ever was one.

But for us athletes, we understand that competition breeds excellence. And thanks to Assault Air Bike, excellence is precisely what air bikes are becoming.

In the past, there was essentially three models of air bike. Bad. Worse. Worst. However, we now have Assault, Xebex, and Schwinn has finally joined the party in introducing the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.

Let's find out how it stacks up.

airdyne-pro-review-long

The Review

When Schwinn contacted me requesting I put the new AD Pro through the paces I wasn't too sure about it.

You see, although I love reviewing new equipment, I've had nothing but trouble with Airdyne's in the past. I'm also never too hyped on slamming companies products, but with the nature of the site being honest reviews, I've had to do so a few times in the past.

giphy-3

Rob Orlando Wasn't a Fan of Old AD's Either…

I decided to oblige Schwinn's request and go through with a review. What's the worst that could happen? It sucks and so I just hand it off to a reader, big deal!

So, the big day came for delivery and rather than UPS dropping this big pallet off in my driveway, Freddie and Pat from Treadmill Heroes put it together (they also drank some of my protein; guys after my own heart.)

pat-freddie

Pat & Freddie were pretty jacked, no lie.

Build Quality

The first thing I noticed regarding the bike was the overall quality.

The Assault Air Bike and Xebex Air Bike have brought a new level to air bikes regarding build quality and the AD Pro is right up there with them.

(Click here to read my in-depth review of the Xebex Air Bike)

Although the AD Pro isn't an all metal construction, I think that's a plus. Metal is in most cases much more durable than plastic, but metal also makes much more noise. And, when it comes to a machine that already produces the decibels that Air Bikes are known to, the last thing you need is more noise.

So, the basic makeup of the bike is metal and plastic, with a majority being aluminum and steel.

Everything on the bike seems to be larger than on the Assault & Xebex bikes as well. That's not to say it takes up a whole lot more footspace, because it doesn't, but the fan for instance is gigantic. This is most likely a reason for a smoother start and stop compared to bikes in the past.

ad-pro-vs-assault-air-bike

Frame

The frame on the AD Pro is a bit longer than other air bikes out there, and I think for good reason.

No longer are old people the only ones using air bikes. They're now being used more than ever in competitions and in serious training environment. This means they take more abuse from people who can push some serious wattage. (Want to see something freaky? Watch Danny Nichols get 300 calories on an Airdyne in under 10 minutes.)

The longer frame keeps the bike from looking like you're trying to do a wheelie whenever you start the bike. It also has seems to have the weight a little bit more evenly distributed on the frame which helps combat the rocking.

The frame is also slightly wider with larger peg feet that keep it more stable with less side to side.

This isn't noticed much when doing slower steady state training, but when you really get pumping you definitely notice and appreciate the extra stability.

Drive System

belt-drive

The Airdyne Pro also features the first belt drive system on any air bike ever produced.

Belt drives have been used for a little while on bicycles with great results, but this is the first time I've seen it in this type of application.

Basically, rather than using your typical link chain, the bike uses a heavy-duty rubber belt often seen in cars. This allows for a few things:

  • fewer adjustments needed to be made over the lifetime of the bike
  • easier adjustments
  • a much quieter and smooth ride

I could not believe the difference the belt drive system made when it came to noise. The only real noise you hear is the one produced by the blades on the fan battling against the wind. Starting the bike is smooth and quick as is coming to a stop for things like movement changes or intervals.

This is the biggest improvement of the bike over current air bikes and one I would imagine other companies will try and emulate.

Overall

grips

Overall, the bike is simply really well built. The pedals are actual medal pedals and not plastic so expect fewer problems.

The rubber grips are heavy duty and unlike foam take chalk extraordinarily well.

There's just little things you start to discover as you go through the bike that show Schwinn really went back to the drawing board on this bike. I expect people to no longer be looking at this Airdyne with the idea that it's no longer made solely for personal, relaxed use, but serious training.

Performance

img_1015

Generally, when a piece of equipment is made well, the performance will follow.

This certainly isn't always the case, but in relation to the Schwinn AD Pro, the function seems to follow the form.

There are a few gripes that often come from people with air bikes.

  • “Why does it have to be so loud?”
  • “Why is the monitor difficult to control? I just want to get on and go.”

For the first one, there's very little way to make a bike that operates against the wind to be quiet. The only way to make the bike quieter, while keeping the same resistance is to make the bikes parts, such as the pedals and arms quieter.

Based on what I've discussed earlier, the bike is built well and is thus as quiet as a fan bike can be.

The fan is larger than that on the Assault and Xebex Air Bikes, but I don't feel like it added much (maybe a little) more resistance or noise.

Monitor

As I've said, the monitor on the Xebex Air Bike that was previously deemed by me as the best value air bike available simply isn't up to snuff.

In fact, it's not very good at all. Sure it can track some basic things including heart rate, but it's done in a very clumsy way.

The monitor on the Assault Air Bike is definitely a step up from the Xebex Air Bike, mainly because of it's ease of use as well as how simple the screen layout is.

*EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS, LISTEN UP: Make your equipment as simple as possible, but no simpler. There's no need for excess complication.*

A quick look at the Schwinn Airdyne's monitor and it's pretty clear to see the similarities between it and the Assault Air Bike's monitor:

assault-vs-schwinn-monitor

Many of the same presets are there such as intervals, time, heart rate, etc.

The big differences I noticed were the size and brightness of the AD Pro's screen being easier on the eyes (especially while sweating) and additional metrics at the top.

The top of the monitor features dials very similar to what you would find on a car. It seemed excessive at first, until you do a workout that you're pacing and the ability to see your current RPM is very helpful. If you're a person who loves data, this monitor is the one for you.

It also tracks heart rate, connects to your monitor very easily, and you can track your effort based on heart rate zones.

Schwinn Airdyne Pro vs. Assault Air Bike

I've compared both of these somewhat in the review, but I figured I would touch on the differences here specifically:

Manufacturer: Schwinn AD Pro Assault Air Bike
Price:  $999 $999
Weight: 113 lbs. 98 lbs.
Drive System: Belt-Driven Chain
Foot Pegs: Rotating Plastic/Metal Pegs Knurled Stationary Pegs
Pedals: Metal Plastic
Handles: 3 Position Handles with Hard Rubber Grips 1 Position Handles with Soft Grips
Inner Workings Design: Closed Open
Monitor Presets: Time, Distance, Calories, Intervals, Heart Rate Time, Distance, Calories, Intervals, Heart Rate
Adjustments: Forward, Back, Up, Down Seat Adjustments Forward, Back, Up, Down Seat Adjustments
Warranty: Frame: 10 Years

Parts: 2 Years

Labor: 6 Months

Frame: 5 Years

My Favorite Air Bike Workouts

intervals-ad-pro

So, it's pretty clear to see how good of a bike the new Airdyne Pro is, but who cares how good it is if you don't know how to use it.

Here are a few of my favorite grinders using the bike:

“300 FY”
Popularized by Gym Jones
10 Minutes, Max Calories. The goal is 300 (ouch.)

Death By Air Bike
Complete 3 calories on the bike in the first minute (add 3)
Complete 6 calories on the bike in the second minute (add 6)
Complete 9 calories on the bike in the third minute (add 9)
Complete 11 calories in the fourth minute (add 11)
Complete 13 calories in the fifth minute (add 13)
Complete 14 calories in the sixth minute (add 14)
Complete 15 calories in the seventh minute (add 15)
Complete 16 total calories
Complete 17 total calories
Complete 18 total calories
Complete 19 total calories
Complete 20 …..
Add 1 calorie to total calorie output every minute on the minute until you cannot complete the calorie total goal in the allotted time.

T-Rex
Tabata Protocol for 16 rounds.
20 seconds Airdyne for calories
10 seconds Rest
20 seconds Push Press with 50 or 35 pound dumbells
10 seconds Rest
Repeat the above for a total of 8 rounds.

Highway to Hell
5 miles Assault Air Bike (2 minute max bike interval)
Each 2 minute time limit in which 5 mile goal is not met, add: + 50 squats, + 50 pushups and + 50 ab mat sit-ups
Complete 5 miles total for time

Split it Up
Assault Air Bike 50 calories total
Splitting up legs only isolation and alternating to arms only isolation every 5 calories (until 50 calorie total is met) + 50 Squats + 50 Pushups + 50 Pull-ups For time

Keep it 100
50 calories Assault Air Bike standing (out of the saddle)
50 calories Assault Air Bike alternating upper and lower body (every 5 calories until 50 calorie goal is met)
*Target for watts: men to maintain 300W lower 200W upper. Women 250W lower 100W upper

Final Thoughts

If you can't tell, I'm a fan of the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.

There's still things I'd like to see improved. I think it's too difficult to access the inner workings of the bike for maintenance and although I don't know if it's even possible, it would be cool to have quieter bikes.

Overall, though, the bike is outstanding and in my opinion is the best available.

That being said, based on the price, I still think the Xebex Air Bike is great. It hits a cheaper price point and although it's not as good of a bike as the Airdyne Pro, it's still very solid.

Purchase from Rogue Fitness: Schwinn AD Pro Ahh, the good ol' Schwinn Airdyne. You know, I've had a lot of beef with Airdyne's in the past. The chains always came loose. The pedals broke. The monitors sucked For the most part, they were pretty awful machines that didn't last, BUT you had to use them. There were no other options; a necessary evil if there ever was one. But for us athletes, we understand that competition breeds excellence. And thanks to Assault Air Bike, excellence is precisely what air bikes are becoming. In the past, there was essentially three models of…

Schwinn Airdyne Pro Review

Price - 7.5
Build Quality - 9.9
Looks - 9.7
Ease of Use - 9.5
Mobility - 8.6
Adjustability - 9.5
Ease of Maintenance - 8.3
Monitor - 8.8

9

Excellent

The higher the review score, the better. Review score is in comparison to competitor products.

Rogue Fitness
User Rating: 2.55 ( 26 votes)

Have you used any of the available Air Bikes? Which is your favorite and why?

Stay Strong, Live Long,

Coop

About Coop

Hello fellow fitness fanatics and equipment fueled fiends. I'm Coop and when not training I can be found mostly operating other entrepreneurial ventures, spending time with my Wife and family, and worshipping my risen Savior. You can find more about me here.

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  • TrainR

    I haven’t been able to use this bike yet, but from what I’ve heard, it’s an absolute beast.

    Supposedly the belt took a lot of effort to figure out, but if it’s as smooth as you say, I bet it’s worth it.

    • Smooth as butter my friend!

  • Sheila

    I can’t wait to give this one a shot. I have a competition coming up and supposedly the Airdynes are the bikes being used! Eeeek!

    • I hope the competition goes well!

  • Watson

    You sold me on the xebex bike when you said they used less plastic parts compared to the Ad pro and I ended up ordering one, I would have bought this one over the xebex if I knew it made less noise.

    • Yeah, the Xebex is almost all metal. They’re both great bikes, the AD pro is just quieter most likely due to the belt drive as well as the plastic parts. You can’t go wrong with either.

  • JS

    Thanks for the great bike reviews. Have you tried the Stairmaster Airfit bike?

    • I have not, and to be honest this is my first time even hearing about it. I will have to follow up with them and see if they’d like a review.

  • James

    When comparing bikes between workouts, do the Assault Bike, AD Pro and Xebex match each other in terms of effort required for x number of calories or distance?

    • They use different calculations for calories and distance so the assault and xebex would take more effort to get to 1 calorie. That said, they all feel the same as far as resistance goes.

  • Frank

    Great review!

    Question: How much headroom is required for use in a basement?

    • Thank you! And that’s a good question. It sits about the same as a normal bicycle, slightly higher, so if you can sit on a bicycle in your basement, you should be good.

  • JR

    Its between the ad6 and the pro for me… I was told the pro has a bit too much resistance especially for someone just getting back into exercising. Have you experienced this and would not recommend the pro for someone like me?

    • It may have slightly more resistance, but if it does it’s not much. I would choose the Pro over the AD6 any day for the durability alone.

  • Edward Muir

    I’ve just purchased one of these. Can’t wait to try it out. Never been on one before, but I need some hardcore piece of conditioning equipment. I went for this one because I’ve got two young kids and Schwinn’s website states that it’s ‘whisper quiet’. I’ll be using it downstairs, but do you think it’ll wake my kids upstairs?

    • I think you’d be fine. It’s definitely quieter than most air bikes, but whenever you’re moving air around, noise will be produced. Enjoy the bike!

  • Anonymous One

    Thanks for the youTube video Coop. Chains do not break. How long will this belt last? I am a huge fan of schwinn but I miss the chain driven AD4’s.

    • I would actually disagree with chains being unbreakable. I’ve seen many a chain on my mountain bike or on an air bike break. A rubber belt is actually more durable than a metal chain. It’s the reason cars use them. The belt in my opinion is not a place for worry.

      • Anonymous One

        Thanks for your response. So in your opinion, is the Schwinn AD Pro superior to the old Schwinn AD4?

        • Undoubtedly. The AD Pro is the best air bike on the market right now. Others will be improved to compete, but right now, this is the best.

          • Anonymous One

            Ok, thanks a lot Coop…really enjoyed your article.

          • Damon Billing

            Dude, locate a local store and ride one, then let us know what you think. I doubt you will be able to hide a giddy smile.

  • Harry

    Is the AD Pro the same as the AD8 model? I can’t seem to find out on Schwinn’s own website

    • DBate

      Yes, the AD PRO and AD8 are the same machine. I think AD8 is the identifier for the AD PRO when sold outside the US, although I am not sure about that. However, I live in Germany and bought an AD8 a couple of months ago and that machine is absolutely identical to the AD PRO reviewed by Coop.

      As a sidenote… I totally agree with Coop on his review. Having tested the competitors, I can say the AD PRO/AD8 is IMO the best airbike currently available on the market and well worth the markup (at least here it is much more expensive than an Assault Bike or Xebex Air Bike), especially if you are using it in a home gym environment where noise is an issue (it is still not exactly quiet).

      Hope that helps. Cheers

  • Doug Wohlstein

    the bike is my next purchase which would you purchase?

    • AD Pro, no question.

  • Brandon Joyce

    Hi,

    I love your writing. Your post is very much helpful and informative. Keep up the good work and present us your best.

    Regards

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